What Will It Take for Microsoft To Get It?

January 16, 2006 00:00 by keithkaragan
CNN has a story about the Microsoft URGE service they'll be launching, yet another attempt to take the music market from Apple and iTunes - fair enough ... But, according to the article, the service will not be compatible with iTunes, or iPods .... That's brilliant, isn't it? Since the iPod line is the hottest selling player, and is the gateway product for introducing consumers to legal online music - let's leave that market in tact for Apple.
I'm no marketing guru, but I would want to eat Apple's lunch if I was Microsoft.First off, you have this massive potential audience of iPod users - They may or may not buy music from Apple - but they probably do buy some, or have at least considered it. There isn't a subscription model service available from Apple with an All-You-Can-Eat model - so at very least some of these customers could still buy some music from Apple, and subscribe to the subscription service from Microsoft if given a chance. If they did, it wouldn't be long before they would buy songs and video from Microsoft if the prices and quality are good - why wouldn't they?
The technology for this is available, Audible has content that works in any player - with DRM intact. Microsoft has a Macintosh development team, and they are likely more than capable of writing an application for the mac to load music on the iPod, or a plug-in for iTunes ... can't be that complicated to a team that wrote Entourage and Office for mac - and with IE mac out of the picture, maybe they have some time on their hands, maybe.
Maybe it's just the thought of validating that the iPod is a great player that they're afraid of? Get over it, the money is in the content in the long run, and even a pretty iPod will eventually break. If they user has a broader perspective of the digital media player marketplace and formats, they're next player might just be something other than an iPod .... but not if their entire media buying experience is with iTunes .... Wake up guys.
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